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Exploring our collections

Nurturing world-leading minds

The University is committed to attracting and supporting the very best researchers and as a Library, we play a key role in this. Research within the John Rylands Research Institute is part of a University-wide drive to broaden our research and increase our number of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers; a key strategic goal in our vision to become one of the top 25 research universities in the world by 2020.

Our aim is to attract and develop excellent researchers and become the location of choice for staff at all career stages. A key focus is to provide a nurturing research environment and outstanding MA, PhD Studentship and Research Fellowship opportunities. 

Donors can support Research Fellowships for early-career academics across all areas of our Collections. Donor funded scholarships can provide opportunities for students to further their research without the significant financial pressures often faced by postgraduates and help to ensure the Library remains an accessible resource for all.

MA Medieval and Early Modern Studies Studentships

We are proud to offer established MA Studentships such as the MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies.

Following the creation of the John Rylands Research Institute, students on the one year MA in Medieval and Early Modern Studies benefit from unrivalled access to the unique Special Collections of a National Research Library, while also joining an active research community of scholars of international standing. Unlike programmes offered at other institutions the Manchester MA is rooted within the Library’s Special Collections, which offer a broad perspective on the period from both western and eastern European sources. As such, unlike programmes elsewhere, the MA not only draws on western manuscripts but on the Library’s extensive near eastern collections.

We are enormously grateful to the Towneley Family for their generous support of the Towneley Family Studentship in MA Medieval and Early Modern Studies.

James Kawalek Testimonial

James Kawalek, the current recipient of the Towneley Studentship, shares his experiences of the programme so far:

What is the best part of studying for your MA in Medieval Studies in the John Rylands Research Institute?

Manchester is a great university with world-class resources and a large body of staff.  Because the staff is so diverse, I have been able to utilise the expertise of historians from many different specialisms and ultimately produce work that is genuinely inter-disciplinary.

Studying at the John Rylands Library itself has been an absolute privilege.  I had the opportunity to conduct a miniature research project on one manuscript from the Library's Special Collections. The fact that these classes were conducted in the beautiful neo-gothic Library itself made the experience all the more enjoyable.

What has it meant to have the Towneley Family Scholarship?

For me, the Towneley Family scholarship is an endorsement of my abilities and a vindication of my efforts so far. It has given me confidence in my work.  

Practically, it has meant that I have been able to assume Master's study immediately after finishing my Bachelor's; I have always intended to study further but because of costs it is probable that I wouldn't have been able to start until after several years of saving.  The scholarship has genuinely liberated me from the need to work to support myself and for that I am joyful and immensely grateful

I'd like to thank the Towneley Family on a personal level for giving me the opportunity to study something I love.